Anorexic self-control and bulimic self-hate: Differential outcome prediction from initial self-image


  • Partially reported at a Scientific Paper Session at the Academy of Eating Disorders' International Conference on Eating Disorders, May 2–5, 2007, Baltimore, Maryland.



The study investigated initial self-image (structural analysis of social behavior) and its relation to 36-month outcome, among patients with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Hypotheses were that degree of different aspects of self-image would predict outcome in the groups.


Participants were 52 patients with anorexia and 91 with bulimia from a longitudinal naturalistic database, and outcome measures included eating disorder and psychiatric symptoms and a general outcome index. Stepwise regression was used to investigate which self-image variables were related to outcome, and multiple regression contrasted the groups directly on each obtained predictor.


Consistent with hypotheses, in bulimia degree of self-hate/self-love moderately predicted outcome, whereas self-control–related variables powerfully predicted outcome in anorexia.


It is important to focus on self-image in the treatment of both diagnostic groups, but especially in anorexia nervosa, where control-submission interactions between patient and therapist should be handled with care. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2009